I just read an article that Tide is now the new hot item to steal. Seriously? Tide?
There are a lot of homemade laundry soap recipes out there. However, I really love soap nuts. They're easy. I also can use them for a variety of cleaning products, not just laundry.
First- buy your bag of soap nuts. I get mine from Green Virgin Products.
Let's do a little cost comparison-
Tide, 150 oz. 90 loads, from Wal-Mart is $17.97- 20 cents a load
Soap Nuts from GVP, 1 kilo bag, 330 loads, $27.95- .08 cents a load
AND I will have additional Soap Nuts cleaning recipes, so you will have additional savings when you're not buying other commercial cleaners as well.
Next, use your Soap Nuts. They will come with a little drawstring bag. You can put 4-6 in the bag and use them just like that in your laundry. They will last for up to 6 loads of laundry. They work great. But if you want to be daring, make liquid soap nuts. I love the liquid. The little bag would get lost, or come open. Or, I would forget how many loads I had done. Liquid was easier plus I use it in making other cleaning products.
To make a gallon of Soap Nuts concentrate:
Boil 4-6 cups of water. Add about 30 soap nuts (for me, it's about 3 hand fulls). Let simmer for 30 min. Turn off, let cool. Add to gallon container and fill with water. I use empty vinegar bottles.
To use: 1/4 cup per load. If you read about soap nuts, most will say you need to use warm/hot water, but you really can use cold water and they will work just fine.
What about whites? We use Oxyclean- one of the few commercial products I buy, with soap nuts. I do the prewash soak overnight in Oxyclean, then the regular wash with soap nuts.
What about stains? I use spray Oxyclean pre-treat then wash with soap nuts. Yes, I even have the Tide pen for tough stains and the Clorox bleach pen for let's say blueberry-smoothie-accidently-spilled-on-white-shirt stains. Yes, it's happened. The Clorox pen is great for that stain. I bought those pen things a couple of years ago, so it isn't like I use them often.
What about Fabric Softener? Great question. STOP BUYING FABRIC SOFTENER!! It's full of nasty chemicals, plus it smells horrible. I hate the smell of those dryer sheets. Yuck!
USE VINEGAR in your rinse cycle. Yes, just plain white vinegar- approx. 1/2 cup per load in your rinse cycle. You're clothes won't smell like vinegar. I will also be doing a tutorial on making wool dryer balls which can be used as a fabric softener/static cling remover as well. But for now, use vinegar.
If you read about liquid soap nuts on-line, they all say that the liquid will go bad after about a week. However, I haven't noticed that to be true. I did take a whiff of some I made up a few weeks ago, and there's a slight smell, but nothing horrid and my clothes definitely don't smell. You can always make up less- standard recipe is 8-10 soap nuts per 6 cups of water. After it's simmered, you're left with about 4 cups of liquid- 1 quart. You can also add a preserver- ascorbic acid or I've used Nixall (in my all purpose cleaner, it acts as a preserving agent as well as a disinfectant) I don't think I'd use Nixall in my laundry soap though. Nixall is hypochlorous acid- is non-toxic, and can be used for a variety of things- but there could possibly be some negative consequences if using it in laundry- highly doubtful, but it could happen. It has plenty of other uses, not to worry. It's a great product. Not only do I recommend it, so does Dr. Norm Shealy. Get some.